Speaking at a forum of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) waqfs (charity organizations) aimed at bring them together to explore opportunities for cooperation among them in promoting Muslim causes in Israel’s capital (he skipped that part), Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday appealed for his fellow Muslims to visit Jerusalem – to show their support for their brethren.
Turkey has the highest numbers of visitors to Jerusalem from among all other Muslim countries – around 26,000 annually – and Erdogan asked why “hundreds of thousands” of Muslims aren’t visiting. Close to 600,000 Americans, 400,000 Russians and 300,000 French citizens visited Jerusalem in 2015, Erdogan said, citing Israeli Tourism Ministry data for the worst year for the local industry, which showed a 25% decline due to all those freedom fighting Muslims stabbing people in the streets.
Describing Israeli practices as “racist” and “discriminatory,” the Turkish president then proceeded to severely criticize Israeli lawmakers for banning the Muslim call to prayer (“adhan”) using loudspeakers between 11 PM and 7 AM. Calling it a violation of the universal freedom of religion and conscience, he asked: “If you have faith in your religion, why are you afraid of the adhan?”
Well, not so much afraid as needing to sleep at night, much like many other cities the world over which have instituted similar curbs on enthusiastic Muezzins.
Ignoring the fact that this was an environmental, rather than a religious law, Erdogan insisted: “We will not allow the adhan to be stopped in Al-Quds.”
A source in Israel’s Foreign Ministry said the Jewish State is trying to avoid yet another clash with Erdogan, so they sent him a message of sharp rebuke and they’re hope that’ll be the end of it.
And, sure, send more Turkish tourists, if they can afford it. Usually, the traffic is in the opposite direction, Israelis cramming to enjoy southern Turkey’s unspoiled beaches and clear blue sea water. Perhaps a steady stream of Muslim fanatics visiting Israel could help the economy (buy one knife, get the second one free?).